There was a time when Impact Wrestling stars who hadn't previously been under contract with WWE for a significant amount of time had little-to-no chance of being given a second look by Vince McMahon let alone be welcomed aboard. Now we have AJ Styles as WWE Champion, Bobby Roode holding the US Title, and Samoa Joe would have probably been wrestling John Cena at WrestleMania had he not suffered an injury.
One other former Impact star that WWE hired but who hasn't taken off in the same way as some of the names mentioned above is Mike Kanellis. The man formerly known as Mike Bennett debuted on SmackDown Live alongside his real life wife and former WWE Superstar Maria Kanellis but nothing much was really done with them.
There are a few schools of thought on why that might be. One is that higher ups at WWE weren't impressed with the shape Kanellis arrived in. As you can see from the comparison photo above posted by the man himself that should not be an issue any more. The former Impact star has also been suffering from issues with addiction, a topic he and Maria have been quite open about on social media.
All signs currently point to Kanellis's 2018 being much better than his 2017. Not only will he and Maria welcome their first child into the world but according to Dirty Sheets, Mike will also be back on WWE telelvision after WrestleMania. It will be unlikely that his lovely wife will be joining him, at least for the time being, so it will be interesting to see whether WWE repackages him for his return or not.
SmackDown Live needs something of a shake up right now as it feels like the show has been struggling somewhat as of late. All of the same Superstars involved in the same tired angles. The injection of someone fresh like Mike Kanellis who seems like he is raring to get his career back on track might be one of the things the brand needs to get it back to how it was shortly after the draft in 2016.
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